Cover for MARTIN: Smokestacks in the Hills: Rural-Industrial Workers in West Virginia. Click for larger image
Ebook Information

Smokestacks in the Hills

Rural-Industrial Workers in West Virginia
Awards and Recognition:

Honorable mention, David Montgomery Award, Organization of American Historians (OAH), 2015

Welding together factory life and local ways in a changing countryside

Long considered an urban phenomenon, industrialization also transformed the American countryside. Lou Martin weaves the narrative of how the relocation of steel and pottery factories to Hancock County, West Virginia, created a rural and small-town working class--and what that meant for communities and for labor.

As Martin shows, access to land in and around steel and pottery towns allowed residents to preserve rural habits and culture. Workers in these places valued place and local community. Because of their belief in localism, an individualistic ethic of "making do," and company loyalty, they often worked to place limits on union influence. At the same time, this localism allowed workers to adapt to the dictates of industrial capitalism and a continually changing world on their own terms--and retain rural ways to a degree unknown among their urbanized peers. Throughout, Martin ties these themes to illuminating discussions of capital mobility, the ways in which changing work experiences defined gender roles, and the persistent myth that modernizing forces bulldozed docile local cultures.

Revealing and incisive, Smokestacks in the Hills reappraises an overlooked stratum of American labor history and contributes to the ongoing dialogue on shifts in national politics in the postwar era.

"Lucidly written with equal attention to the big picture and the small, demographic/economic statistics and the diverse voices of workers recounting their experiences and what they make of them, Smokestacks in the Hills is both an elegy for a brief moment of rural industrial stability and a cogent analysis of the strengths and limits of a working-class culture of 'making do.' A wonderful book--a sad story that somehow heartens."--Jack Metzgar, author of Striking Steel: Solidarity Remembered

"Martin's wonderful book alerts all twentieth-century U.S. labor historians that we are telling only half the story if we ignore rural industrial workers and their local orientations forged through connections to land, place, family, and community."--Lisa M. Fine, author of The Story of Reo Joe: Work, Kin, and Community in Autotown, U.S.A.

"An interesting explanation for the conservatism and occasionally antiunion sentiments of a group of industrial workers that contrasts with the philosophies and sentiments most commonly chronicled among urban workers."--Brooks Blevins, author of Ghost of the Ozarks: Murder and Memory in the Upland South

"Lou Martin has produced a deeply researched and expertly crafted history of rural workers in an Appalachian county, a study that reveals how experiences on the countryside shaped class identities and social relations in industrial workplaces. Martin's sensitive portrait of West Virginia potters and steel workers goes a long way toward correcting the big city bias in our labor and industrial history, and it helps us understand why values like independence and self help shaped how rural folk asserted their own preferences when faced with national forces in the form of corporate welfare programs, CIO unions, New Deal programs, and the impacts of deindustrialization. Smokestacks in the Hills is a pathbreaking book."--James Green, author of The Devil Is Here in These Hills: West Virginia's Coal Miners and Their Battle for Freedom

Lou Martin is an assistant professor of history at Chatham University.

To order online:
http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/86pxc4ge9780252039454.html

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Appalachian Dance

Creativity and Continuity in Six Communities

Susan Eike Spalding

African American Miners and Migrants

The Eastern Kentucky Social Club

Thomas E. Wagner and Phillip J. Obermiller

Ghost of the Ozarks

Murder and Memory in the Upland South

Brooks Blevins

Spirits of Just Men

Mountaineers, Liquor Bosses, and Lawmen in the Moonshine Capital of the World

Charles D. Thompson Jr.

Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics

Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance

Phil Jamison

Perspectives on Work

Edited by Susan C. Cass

Our Roots Run Deep as Ironweed

Appalachian Women and the Fight for Environmental Justice

Shannon Elizabeth Bell

Transforming Places

Lessons from Appalachia

Edited by Stephen L. Fisher and Barbara Ellen Smith

Combating Mountaintop Removal

New Directions in the Fight against Big Coal

Bryan T. McNeil

Glass Towns

Industry, Labor, and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890-1930s

Ken Fones-Wolf

A Hard Journey

The Life of Don West

James J. Lorence

Coalfield Jews

An Appalachian History

Deborah R. Weiner

Journal of Appalachian Studies

Edited by Shaunna Scott

The Poco Field

An American Story of Place

Talmage A. Stanley

Studying Appalachian Studies

Making the Path by Walking

Edited by Chad Berry, Phillip J. Obermiller, and Shaunna L. Scott

Which Side Are You On?

The Harlan County Coal Miners, 1931-39

John W. Hevener

 
Smokestacks in the Hills ebook is available for immediate download from the following vendors:
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Google Play